For a variety of reasons, some of which I’ve posted about on this blog, I use referenced images, available in Aperture as of version 1.5. There are many advantages and disadvantages to using referenced images as opposed to a managed library, but for me the biggest advantage is that I can have other applications work with files in a referenced library setup. Another advantage is that you can keep the bulk of your image library on external drives that are larger than what may be available to you on the computer that is with you. This is especially handy for when you are working on a big shoot on assignment and only have a little bit of free space on your laptop hard drive.
The best part of this strategy is that you can still do quite a bit of work on your images even when your large external drives aren’t hooked up. You can’t make image adjustments to your photographs, but you can keyword and rate. This means you can edit your shoots down to your selects without the master images being available. And, you can also figure out which images should be rejected and deleted out of your image library forever.
For example, here’s a snapshot of my Aperture library with some images that I ranked while the external disk that the master images are on was offline, indicated by the icon on the lower-right of each image.
Being able to edit a take of images without plugging in a hard drive means that you can work on your images in places where it might be inconvenient to plug in, such as on an airplane or train. And, it means that you’ll be able to get a bit of work done on your images when you’re waiting at the car repair shop or at the dentist office. Then, once you hook back up to your master library, you’ll be able to take advantage of that work and can get right down to doing image adjustments to your selects.